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Black Book: Why Nigerian tech ‘money bags’ were funding first choice

Black Book funding: Why Nigerian tech ‘money bags’ were the first choice

Fatu Ogwuche, founder of Big Tech This Week, recently led a discussion that explored “The Black Book’s funding, spotlighting the choice of investors behind the Netflix original film”. This was during a behind-the-scenes gathering on X (formerly Twitter) Spaces she hosted.

The panel featured Editi Effiong, the film’s director, as well as his executive producers, a lineup that included Ezra Olubi, CTO of Paystack; Kola Oyeneyin, CEO of Opportunik; Olugbenga Agboola (GB), CEO of Flutterwave; Nadayar Enegesi, CEO of Eden Life; and Subomi Plumpter, CEO of Volition Cap. Together, they shared their motivations for backing this ambitious Netflix project, which was produced with a $1million budget.

Black book credit screen

“The Black Book” is a project that had been in the making for nearly four years, dating back to 2019 and was filmed in several locations across Nigeria; including Tarkwa Bay in Lagos State and Kaduna State.

Fatu Ogwuche, kicked off the discussion by highlighting the uniqueness of the film’s executive producer list, which resembled a startup’s cap table; and then questioned Editi Effiong, asking him why he turned to this group of individuals to finance his directorial debut.

Editi Effiong, the director, explained his decision to seek funding from the tech community: “When I was raising money for the first time, like everyone else would do, I reached out to family and friends. These were people I had known over a decade, some for 14 years or more, they were not just colleagues but friends.”

Also, his decision to approach these tech ‘money bags’ and founders was driven by the desire to ensure that African stories were funded and told by Africans with African money. Editi said, “If we are going to tell the next generation of African stories, it’s important that they are told by Africans with African money. The thing that excites me the most about the investment is that it is 100 percent Nigerian money telling a 100 percent Nigerian story.”

He underscored the importance of having “skin in the game” when seeking funding. He personally invested 30 percent of the project’s budget, demonstrating his commitment to his own vision and ideas. This commitment, he believed, instilled confidence in other investors, reassuring them that their money was in capable hands.

Kola Oyeneyin, the CEO of Opportunik, echoed this sentiment, emphasising Editi’s transparency even in the face of challenges. He lauded the director’s dedication to excellence and believed that more founders in Nigeria should follow a similar path of openness and transparency to achieve success.

Oyeneyin shared his three reasons for joining the investment, highlighting Editi’s persuasive ability, the compelling nature of the film’s script, and the opportunity to launch alternative investments in Africa.

On his part, Ezra Olubi, CTO of Paystack, revealed that he hadn’t initially considered investing in movies until Editi approached him with the project. He had known Editi for over 14 years and had always associated him with excellence in execution. The decision to invest became easy when he realised the impact of being associated with a successful film project.

“I’ve imagined over and over again what it would look like for a movie to start playing on TV and then my name shows up as an executive producer because that was everything. If you asked me three years ago, that wasn’t anything I imagined that would be in my future but here we are,” he said.

As the conversation continued, it became clear that “The Black Book” was not just a film; it was a culmination of years of dedication, collaboration, and belief in the power of African storytelling.

 

Nadayar Enegesi shared his perspective, noting the importance of stories in shaping people’s beliefs and aspirations. He believed that supporting projects like “The Black Book” was crucial for instilling confidence in Africa’s potential for greatness. He said “For us to really get to that point of greatness that we all would like, people need to believe that is possible and and the way that people believe that those things are possible is by seeing things and by listening to stories that give them the confidence that things like that are possible.

Also on the Space, Subomi Plumptre, CEO of Volition Cap, explained how their investment club’s passion for the arts and their belief in Editi’s vision led them to back the project. Their investment was not just financial; it was driven by a deep passion for supporting African stories and storytellers.

 

Ezra Olubi expressed his interest in investing in directors like Editi who were passionate about their stories. While he couldn’t speak for the entire industry, he believed that supporting visionary directors was a step in the right direction.

As “The Black Book” continues to make waves on Netflix, it stands as a testament to the power of collaboration, belief in African storytelling, and the impact of tech money in reshaping the landscape of Nollywood. The film’s success has not only broken records but also inspired a new era of African storytelling funded by Africans for the world to embrace.

Read also: ‘The Black Book’ becomes Nollywood’s first No.1 on Netflix worldwide

The Black Book in brief:

“The Black Book” explores themes of crime, corruption, revenge, and redemption. It begins with the tragic abduction and murder of Professor Craig’s husband and infant, stemming from her courageous exposure of ministry corruption while serving as both a professor and minister.

To cover their nefarious actions, conspirators frame an innocent, Damilola Edima, who is the son of Paul Edima, a reformed former member of their criminal network turned devout deacon. Consumed by a thirst for justice, Paul confronts the mastermind, General Issa, portrayed by Alex Usifo, resulting in a gripping showdown and the recovery of the elusive “Black Book.”

The Black Book's rank on Netlifx

Since its release, “The Black Book” has made history as the first Nollywood film to top Netflix worldwide. According to It has amassed 5.6 million views and 11.6 million watch hours from September 18 to 24, cementing its global acclaim.